“Surrounding ourselves with reminders of who we are and where we’ve been is another simple way we have found to make our home uniquely ours. The walls, shelves, floors, and windowsills of both our home and my studio are full of objects that tell the stories of where we’ve been and what we’ve done and enjoyed together” (Thomas Kinkade).
OBJECTS HAVE THE POWER TO EVOKE HEALTHFUL MEMORIES. When there is some physical remnant of a past event, seeing or touching that object connects us to the event, and the people associated with it, in a “sensuous” way, that is, by means of our senses. That’s why we make scrapbooks and keep souvenirs. That’s why we hold on to otherwise worthless pieces of paper that bear the signature of some admired person. And that’s why, above all, we treasure objects that have been given to us by some especially beloved person. However ordinary those objects might be in themselves, they are mementos, tangible reminders of a relationship that has enriched us.
For many years, I have kept on my desk two rocks. You couldn’t tell by looking at them that there is anything special about them. They are only special to me because I picked them up in two special places while I was with two special friends. One came from the burning floor of Death Valley one July Fourth many years ago when I was there with a friend to whom I’m deeply indebted. The other came from the stony beach at Scotts Head on the little island of Dominica, when I was there with another special friend. This particular friend, a native of the Caribbean, shook his head in amusement at the thought of my going back through customs with rocks in my bag. But to this day, the stone connects me to the island and to him. It’s a memento.
There is, I think, great value not only in keeping mementos but also in picking them up and handling them from time to time. The sense of touch is a powerful connector to things we need to stay connected to, and we ought to use it more than we do. So while we keep some things for their usefulness, we ought to keep others for their historicalness. Mementos are pegs upon which we can hang memories. And in our occasional housecleaning fits, let’s be careful not to throw away the things that our best memories are attached to.
“Keep some souvenirs of your past, or how will you ever prove it wasn’t all a dream?” (Ashleigh Brilliant).